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Entries in holidays (18)


A Very Kaufman Christmas 2015

Thanks to some forward thinking on my part, I snagged a few $3 crafts at Target at the end of November and got to work with the girls making decorations.

Lyra made this beauty. She isn't even three years old yet. I was so impressed with the time and focus she spent on it. Look at that color and spacing.

Uncle Rich really helped with the final touches to make Christmas happen. He brought us a mini tree and hung lights and decorations.

Soon, the whole place was appropriately festive.

Next up in my forward thinking (hey, sometimes you gotta pat yourself on the back) was considering gifts for the various teachers and important people in the girls' lives. As a former teacher, I remember the holiday gifts I received that were either passed on or thrown out (sweets, sweets, sweets) and the well-intentioned gifts that I couldn't use. Gift cards and presents that showed they actually knew my tastes were the most appreciated.

I numbered 10 fabrics and asked the teachers to rate their top three faves. That way I knew I'd at least be making something for them that they actually liked. 

Bow down to the organization!

Lyra helped a bit more than C during this process. It was fun to do a big project with just this rascal.

I saved  cans of various sizes throughout the year. With pliers, I pushed down any little metal sticky-outies from the can opener and then cut out the fabric to match the sizes. Mod podge was what made it all come together.

Darling little organizers for their classroom or home. These are adorable, am I right??!!

This year I decided to collect all the Christmas cards we received and keep them in a stack, unopened, until just a few days before Christmas. We don't focus on receiving gifts for this holiday (Santa only brings everyone one present each). I thought opening all the cards at once might make things festive and indeed it did.

To all our friends who sent well wishes, thank you!

Sadly, on Christmas Eve day I started to feel sick. I was quickly flat out in bed for the entire day but Eric made sure that Santa and his reindeer received a snack from the girls before they went to bed.

By Christmas morning it was very obvious I was suffering from the flu. I tried to be there while the family opened presents and their stockings, but everything was a blur. C documented that I actually made it down the stairs to see that Santa had come.

I've never had the flu before; I hope I never have it again.

I'm still sick, and still recovering. Eric spent all of Christmas break taking care of me and hanging out with the girls. My miserable spate of days were accompanied by the jovial backdrop of children laughing and playing downstairs. 

The girls have always been very good friends, but there has been something magical about their play lately. I think as Lyra approaches three and is better able to communicate they can truly create mutual imaginary worlds together. 

When people say 'you'll miss these days', let me tell you, THESE are days for sure that I will look back on and cherish. Even through the fog of flu, the delight of sisters enveloped in a world of play is something I'll remember and forever miss in my home once they've grown.

And to Eric who has taken care of us and the household with a gorgeous smile on his face, I love you. The girls are lucky to have you as their dad. I'm lucky to have you as my husband.

Santa brought the girls S.T.E.A.M. toys, in this case, Goldiblox! Eric and the girls have been busy putting them to work!

I hope your holidays were wonderful and may your new year bring much awesomeness as well.


DIY Fabric Easter Bags

I included a few photos of the bags I made for Cora and Lyra in my Easter 2015 post here. I've finished a third one so I thought I'd share all three finished products.

Ta da! They are Goldilocks style, with a small one, a slightly bigger one, and then a large one.

I used this image as inspiration and then hand drew my own pattern.

I made the littlest bag first and then expanded the pattern by about an inch and a half for each proceeding bag.

The littlest bag was for Lyra.

The exterior fabric is from a kitchen towel I bought at Target. I was so enamored with the towel that I put it in my fabric stash instead of the kitchen.

I forgot to take a close up shot of the interior but you can sort of see it in the photo below. It's just a nice, soft, yellow fabric with white flowers.

Cora's basket is the mid-sized one. I used some fabric a friend had passed on from her stash and carefully positioned that rocking pink bird in prominence on the front.

The interior fabric is from scraps I had from the bench I made for Mele last fall. The pink is from the piping I handmade for it.

More photos of the bench can be found here.

Oh to have trimmed that one tiny thread sticking out there on the left. The perfectionist in me cries out in protest. The realist in me refuses to get off the couch to take another photo.

Sometimes. Sometimes I dream about fabric.

True story.

Oooh, you can see the interior fabric in the fruit basket pretty well in that photo.

Isn't it cute how they stair-step in sizes?

Being nautically-minded, the biggest basket is my favorite.

The fabric is remnants from the home-dec weight fabric I bought to make a mattress cover for our bed

So, soon. Soon.

I.can't.even. with this lining fabric. Just look at that buttery-pale yellow & white stripe with the little beach terns trailing their prints behind them in the sand.

You may have noticed that I used a zig-zag stitch on the trim for all these baskets. 

Since I knew that the girls were going to be banging their bags around to kingdom-come, and because I want these to actually be used in real life instead of sitting on a shelf somewhere just looking pretty, I opted for zig-zag over straight stitch.

The former will do a perfect job of going the distance and keeping all the layers of the bag (exterior fabric, interfacing, lining fabric, interfacing, & bias tape) together.

The starfish bag is going out in the mail as a birthday present for a friend. I can't say who because that would ruin the surprise.

Also, here is Lyra just doing her thing.

Ta-ta for now!  


Easter in San Diego | 2015

I made the girls their own little Easter baskets this year.

They were thrilled to have personal bags to bring to the Easter egg hunt at Gray & Ella's that morning.

The kids were adorable once we yelled "Go" for them to hunt for eggs:

The rascals hanging out in Wes & Miles' play house.

Yes, Gray & Ella built the coolest outdoor play house for their boys, ever.

I mean, ugh, can I just move in already? It's gorgeous. Gray can pretty much make everything.

Let me show you what I mean:

Hmmm. Maybe this will explain it better.

See what I mean?

Ella painted this. She PAINTED THIS.

They both designed everything you see here. Literally everything down to the fireplace and new walls. The terrariums, the bunting, you name it.

Ella created this spring table for the season.

Aunt Sue made this ensemble.

And here is the spread, albeit after it had been thoroughly ravaged by the industriously hungry guests.

(See that fireplace and mantel I mentioned? In the mirror. Gray made all of it.)It was a day for leisure and play.

"I think there are ants crawling on there."

"There ARE ants on there.

Let me take a closer look with my magnascope!"

Observe on, little scientist.

Observe on.

It was a day for families. All told, there were brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, AND uncles present.

I think the only thing we were missing was cousins, but I could be wrong. 

Poor baby Miles was NOT feeling well.

I'm not gonna lie, it was a kick-ass Easter. Thank you, Sherman family, for a wonderful, relaxing day.

I think Gray finally got some much needed rest.

{ PS - Gray & Ella are the talented husband/wife team behind the Etsy shop, Small Life Studio. The quality of their work is poured into everything they make. }


Valentine's Cards via Land | It shouldn't be this difficult

I don't send Christmas cards. I don't send New Year's cards. 

I try to send Valentine's. 

By February, the rush and then deflation after the holidays is finally over. I have a little time to think. Time to, you know, write and address over 150 Valentine's cards.

Key to the Valentine's is including a little photo of the girls. I try to take the photo as close to Valentine's as possible so it really represents how the girls look at the time. This is the same photo I select for my Every Six Month's Photo Project.

Here's is this year's photo. I wrote about taking the photo here.

And here is last year's photo. I wrote about taking it here.

The girls were dressed as Frida Kahlo (in homage to living in Mexico at the time time.) Little Lyra's blonde locks didn't really match the Frida unibrow, but at least give me some points for trying. I wrote about sending Valentine's while living abroad, on a sailboat, here.

A lot of the Valentine's last year were mailed just before we left to cross the Pacific, and as news of what was transpiring on Rebel Heart (almost a year ago now) started to make headlines, many of our friends were getting their Valentine's. I can't tell you how much it means to me when I hear that my friends posted the photo of the girls on their fridge, or their wall, and kept them, and us, in their hearts until they knew what had happened.

This year I was excited to get started. I was in America, with zippy internet, speedy mail service, and no reason to not get my Valentine's out in time. I ordered some Valentine's that came with their own envelopes, made an Excel spreadsheet with everyone's addresses, and spent a night drinking wine with Mele as we printed out mailing and return address labels, along with little labels to affix to the back of the girl's pictures with their names and ages.

I proudly took the huge stacks of Valentine's to the post office five days before Valentine's. FIVE WHOLE DAYS. Yes, that is how on top of things I was. You betcha. People were going to get their Valentines in the mail... on time.


The only problem? The envelopes were too small.

I swear.

I thought you could mail ANYTHING as long it was the right weight and had the correct postage.

But nope. You can't. The smallest envelope you can mail is 3.5" tall, and 5" long.  

Gobsmacked, I turned around and walked out of the post office with 150 Valentines (STAMPED ALREADY, MIND YOU), scratching my head and wondering what to do. The problem was that Lyra's birthday party was also five days away and I had no more time to mess around with Valentine's, I needed to get the house looking ship shape.

Sadly, I set the Valentine's aside until....after Valentine's.

The size of the Valentines that would ship on the right. The correct size I actually needed, on the left.

After Lyra's party I got back to work. I bought a pack of envelopes that were just a bit larger than the ones I tried to mail and then painstakingly peeled off all the stamps from the small cards and glued them to  the new ones.

See the fuzzy parts on the envelopes there? At the top right of each one? Yep. Peeled off stamps. Every one.

I wasn't able to connect with Mele this time to get more labels printed out, so I started hand addressing each one.

Pic by Lyra

For those of you who know me, and know how truly awful my handwriting is, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry to all the mail carriers too, who had to deciper what I wrote as well. It tooke me several days, but I finally got everything done. Again.

Except for a few that were going to require special treatment.

We have friends who are out sailing and don't have a permanent mailing address. They are out sailing with their kids. With very young children.

On boats.

Just out there on the water SAILING. WITH CHILDREN. How awful of them, right? So selfish. So reckless to endanger those kids that way. Someone should call CPS on them!!

OH wait.

That's what people said about us. Sorry. I got side-tracked.

Right. So we know some awesome families who are sailing with little children (and big children) and I needed to get Valentine's to them too. Luckily, I had an ace up my sleeve. Her name is Cherry and she sails on s/v Rainbow Gypsy.

Cherry and her husband, Alec, were in San Diego for awhile on their boat before heading to Mexico. She was kind enough to take the Valentine's I wanted to send to my Mexico-cruising friends and deliver them by what sailors lovingly call 'The Coconut Express." Cherry will use the VHF radio when shet gets to ports where my friends are anchored and hail them to let them know they have mail. Landfall Voyages and Aboard Astrea, I'm looking at YOU!

That still leaves two more Valentines for sailing friends (with CHILDREN, on BOATS!!!!!!!!!!) But they are really out sailing. I'm talking the kind of long-distance, out-of-reach sailing that means I may not be able to get a Valentine to them until, oh, Christmas-time of this year, when they have friends or family traveling to meet them in exotic locations. Ceilydh Set Sail and Sailing Totem, I'm looking at you.

Cora and Lyra were happy to help, yet again, bring the Valentine's to the post office.

Any reason to use their back packs to help carry things is a good reason for them.

Of course when we dropped the second round of Valentine's off I thought I was finally done.

But I wasn't.

Seven of the second round came right back. This is the same envelope in the photo above. One side is the front and one side is the back. I *think* the problem is that I wrote the return address a little too large. It looked like the mailing address....but the STAMP was not on that side. The stamp was on the side with the recepient's [correct] address. Maybe it was because the stamp has a white background, so the carrier didn't see it? I don't know. I.don't.freaking.know.

So I tried again. I bought BIGGER envelopes to fit the first envelope and the second envelope into the THIRD ATTEMPT envelope.

Luckily, the girls were ever ready, with backpacks and bikes, to help me get this third round back in the mail.

Let us all hope that the saga of the 2015 Valentines Cards is now complete. 


A Very Kaufman Christmas ~ 2014

Christmas Eve day was a day to play make-believe. The girls had a "party" and the centerpiece was this incredible, hand-made quilt from Michelle at Sea Baby Quilts.

Quilted by hand. So lovely.

Cora spent a lot of time carefully folding it and caring it around in a hug. I think she liked (and likes) to immerse herself in the colors and in Elsa and Anna on the back.

Our day was relaxing, and our Christmas Eve was quiet. Nothing exciting, but we were happy and cozy, and I don't write this blog to entertain, but to chronicle our life for our girls when they are older.

This was the first Christmas that we watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, well, half anyway before the kids got too sleepy.

Cora dictated a letter to Santa and we left him and the reindeer this:

That's right. A glass of milk, some wine, beer, and carrots. Because apparently Santa is a drunken vegetarian. And yes, those carrots were for the reindeer AND Santa.

Every year Eric reads 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and this was the first year that Cora was truly fascinated by it.

"He could hear the reindeer on the roof? He peeked on Santa bringing the toys?!"

After we tucked them in for the night we could hear Cora admonishing Lyra, "Go to sleep, Lyra Estrella. We have to go to sleep or SANTA CLAUS WON'T COME!!!" (Over the last few weeks, Cora has taken to consistently calling Lyra by her full name.)

She was indeed concerned that Santa would pass our house by if they didn't get to sleep pronto.

She needn't have worried. They fell asleep and Santa did come.

We kept to our rule of one gift each for the girls. There were other gifts under the tree sent from family and friends, but the girls will grow up getting one gift for Christmas; first it will be from Santa, and when they no longer believe, it will be from us. Their gifts were second-hand because they don't need new things. Thankfully, they don't need much at all.

At Christmastime we focus on making gifts for others and finding joy in the winter season.

Lyra got a balance bike sent to us from a friend in San Francisco. Her present was significantly bigger than Cora's (a binder full of Frozen-themed coloring page print-outs.) I was worried that Cora would feel this disparity in gift-size would seem inequitable but Cora was the first to shout out, "Lyra got a bike from Santa!"

And she reveled in her binder of coloring sheets, never murmuring about the difference in gifts. High-five, Cora. Way to be awesome, kid.

Here is Eric helping Lyra with a doll sent from her Bella. The look on Eric's face pretty much sums up how he feels about toys in general. Bwhwahhaahahaa. The girls were thrilled with their little dolls.

The book on the left was sent from our friends on s/v Lilo. If you have little kids, and don't own this book yet, get it. It will make them howl with laughter. Thank you, Bethany!

The girls spent the whole morning outside, Cora patiently explaining to Lyra how to walk on her balance bike. She showed her how to lay it down as well and they both took turns ringing the little bike bell.

Cora modeling her hand-knitted hat from our friend, Katherine.

It was a wonderfully small day. Small in the sense of being close-knit, low-stress, and family-focused. I put Christmas dinner in the crockpot and in the afternoon my brother, Rich and his roommate, Jesse came over. Along with our friend Joseph, we all sat around eating Mexican food and talking about politics, because who doesn't talk about politics at Christmas time?

After the year we've had, a tiny, calm Christmas was a good way to round out the season. I hope your holiday was wonderful too.